Friday, August 26, 2011

Counterintuitive Problem-Solving Trick: Complain!

We’re sitting through a flight delay and my friend won’t shut up. I finally can’t stand it. “Is it possible,” I say, “that you could stop whining and complaining about your business for just five minutes?”
“I’m not complaining,” he says. “I’m problem solving.”
Fortitude in the face of adversity is usually perceived as virtuous self-restraint. Most of us try to keep our upper lips stiff: We don’t grumble, don’t complain, and definitely don’t whine. (At least not out loud.)
But that reserve could cause you to ignore opportunities to improve your business. Every day software crashes, equipment goes down, employees struggle, processes go off track… and over time you’ve learned to live with a number of chronic problems. It’s like the “Open House” syndrome: Walk through a house for sale and you notice every mark on the wall, every spot on the carpet, every scratch on the counter tops, yet you no longer see those same defects in your own home. You’ve gotten so used to the cabinet door that won’t shut properly you don’t even notice anymore.
And it doesn’t get fixed.
That’s why complaining is actually a great business tool. Complaining exposes problems — problems that cost you time and money.
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